The Pivotal Role of Temporality in Sound and Music

Our sense of music is derived largely from higher order temporal behaviours of these features. Melody is the play of pitch across time. The identifying timbre of an instrument or voice is the play of spectrum across time. Envelope is the play of amplitude across time. Harmonic tension and release are plays of harmony across time.

The auditory cortex is capable of discerning multiple overlapping temporal phenomena with great acuity. What starts as a unidimensional vibration in the ear unfolds into the full dimensionality of sound and music through this remarkable perceptual process. It is easier for me to conceive of the visual segregation and grouping of space, than it is to grasp this unravelling and reintegration of the many simultaneous strands of temporal sound experience.